<
>

Saints coach unhappy with Horn's talk

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn has a
history of picking on Carolina both on and off the field. The
Panthers are tuning him out before their Sunday meeting against the
Saints.

Horn took his latest jab last month, calling Carolina's
secondary "vulnerable" after the Panthers' 19-13 victory over New
Orleans, and predicted opponents would soon expose it.

"Every year it's something with him," Panthers cornerback
Terry Cousin said. "No matter what we do, it will always be
something. He feels one way about us and he's never going to
change. So we'll take care of that on Sunday."

But Horn wasn't necessarily wrong in his postgame assessment of
Carolina's secondary. The Panthers rank 26th in the league in pass
defense and have given up 21 pass plays of 20 yards or longer.

Still, Saints coach Jim Haslett wasn't thrilled that his
receiver was giving the Panthers bulletin-board material.

"Whatever Joe said, just ignore," Haslett said. "Sometimes he
talks without thinking."

Horn had four catches for 56 yards -- all on the same drive -- and
scored a 21-yard touchdown against the Panthers last month. In
seven career games against Carolina, he has 41 catches for 614
yards. The Saints have won five of the seven meetings since Horn
joined them in 2000.

But he's got a habit of ticking the Panthers off.

Horn said after New Orleans' 34-24 win over the Panthers last
season that he could see "fear in the eyes" of Carolina's
defensive backs as the Saints drove 95 yards for the go-ahead
touchdown in the final minute.

That irritated Carolina and carried over into the season finale
last year, which the Panthers won 10-6 in New Orleans to eliminate
the Saints from playoff contention. Horn was one of several Saints
to get into a pregame scuffle with the Panthers, then was held to
four catches for 43 yards.

This time, the Panthers are trying to ignore him.

"That's just Joe being Joe," safety Mike Minter said. "He's
going to fight and he's going to play football and talk trash and
try to back it up and everything else. That's what you want. You
want somebody competing against you at 100 percent."

If there's any revenge at all against Horn, the Panthers want it
to come Sunday on the field.

"When there's a guy talking about you, it becomes personal,
because he's trying you as a football player and as a man," safety
Deon Grant said. "You have to go out there and show that player
up. When a guy is talking trash, it makes you turn your game up."